Email correspondence with 1855 reveals a succession of promises that the wine will arrive next month but for some next month never comes.
Sunday 19 December 2010
Email correspondence with 1855 reveals a succession of promises that the wine will arrive next month but for some next month never comes.
Tuesday 14 December 2010
No news so far (17.30 14th December) and Crown Court closes at 4pm, so I assume that the jury will continue their deliberations tomorrow.
Wednesay 15th (20.00): No news so I assume the jury is still out and will continue their deliberations tomorrow.
Friday 10 December 2010
Monday 6 December 2010
Sunday 5 December 2010
Wednesday 1 December 2010
Please email me through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday 29 November 2010
Tuesday 23 November 2010
Tuesday 16 November 2010
I'm happy for any clients of Seale Wines Ltd to contact me and I will forward your emails to the Met. You can be assured that I will not publish them. My email is budmac@btinternet .com
Wine Investment Cold Calls – a Warning
- Firstly we do not solicit for business by cold-calling.
- Secondly we have no employee with the name I was given.
I am sure that we at Bid for Wine (www.bidforwine.com) are not the only ones who are having our name misused in this manner and I would urge the trade to be vigilant and anyone being contacted by cold-callers selling wine as an investment to take details and pass them on to the police. In addition, if anyone encounters our name in association with such a sales pitch I would be very grateful for any information!
Bid for Wine
Tel. +44 (0)207 183 3985
Mob. +44 (0)7762 566894
The Wine Trade Ltd (T/A Bid for Wine) is registered in England & Wales, Company No. 6521437.
Registered Office Address: 2nd Floor, 145-157 St John St, London, EC1V 4PY.
Correspondence Address: P.O. Box 638, Exeter, Devon, EX1 9JY
Friday 5 November 2010
Wednesday 3 November 2010
Mr Davis took Craven through his spending – holidays, cars, diamonds, watches, clothes etc. – while at a the Bordeaux Wine Trading Company referring him to a number of bank accounts.
The trial is expected to last at least another two weeks.
Tuesday 2 November 2010
Monday 1 November 2010
Tuesday 19 October 2010
Dr Francis Leigh Moss
Moss said that Daniel Price was confident, well spoken and had an air of knowledge – he spoke the language (of wine investment). In October 2009 he agreed to buy a case of 2008 Ausone (St Emilion) en primeur for £7740. As well as his invoice Moss received a Templar Vintners brochure, which looked 'glossy', 'professional', 'establishment – at the upper end of the market and a 'multi-million pound' company stating that 'Templar Vintners is one of the leading fine and rare wine merchants'.
It was arranged that the wines Moss wanted to sell would be bought by Bordeaux Index Ltd "a highly reputable, secure company (Moss)" and the wines transferred from Branford bond to London City Bond. The deal was worth between £13,000 and £15,000. Templar Vintners would use the money raised to buy new wines for Moss.
Before he went ahead with this new deal Moss decided, given the amount of money involved, that he needed to do more research. He checked with Companies House and discovered that Templar Vintners was incorporated in 2008 and had changed its name during 2009. There were two directors: Andrew Griffiths and James Allie. Moss could find out little about Griffiths but discovered that Allie was a Liberal Democrat councillor in Brent, so felt reassured.
Moss was also worried that the firm's address Hamilton House was 'an address of convenience'. That his contact with Templar Vintners was by mobile phone and that the brochure had used material from other companies – "cut and pasted". "Looking at the brochure I became more concerned – not a true and genuine document'. He told Templar Vintners that he was not prepared at this time to go through with the deal.
On a Friday evening in January around 5pm he spoke on the phone with an Ethan Brook who was "agitated, angry and affronted". Brook accused him of "neneging on the deal – a deal that he had requested". Moss asked for his money back on the previous deals but was told that this wasn't possible for legal reasons as under the Distance Selling Regulations there was a six week tiime period.
Moss asked for reassurance that this was a genuine deal and asked for a signed letter from Andrew Griffiths or James Allie. He asked in particular for reassurances from James Allie as he thought someone in James Allie's position would not be involved in something that was not legal and above board.
Moss never received a signed letter from either Griffiths or James Allie. He did receive an email purporting to come from Allie but it wasn't signed. The transfer never went ahead nor has he received any money back for the two cases of 2008 that he ordered.
Under cross-examination from Mr Smith, representing Andrew Griffiths, Moss agreed that the brochure didn't mention 'multi-million pound company'. However he drew this inference from Templar's claim: 'our clients benefit directly from our immense buying power, amassed through years of experience'.
The trial continues.
3rd November 2010:
Please note that Andrew Griffiths has now been severed (official parlance) from this case with a new trial date to be set in due course.
He started with the Bordeaux Wine Company where he worked from approximately April 2006 to October 2006. As he had no previous experience of the fine wine industry – "I'd never worked in wine before" – much of his time at BWC was spent being trained by Anthony. The software programme used was Goldmine, which is a way of keeping a record of calls to customers.
Mr Creaton said that at BWC there was a senior sales team, which consisted of two women, and a junior team which consisted of between 8-10 people. Oseghale Hayble, one of the defendants, was the manager of the junior sales team. Creaton's pay at BWC was £25,000 a year basic then a commission rate that ranged from 2%-4%.
In October 2006 Hayble invited Mr Creaton to join the Bordeaux Wine Trading Company, a new wine investment firm selling en primeur Bordeaux and based in Potters Bar. Creaton moved companies as BWTC was closer to his home and the money was better: £1000 a month retainer and 10% commission once you had earned £1000. It was a two room office operation with the offices separated by a long corridor and a number of other offices that were quite independent of BWTC. The larger room was the salesroom with 9-10 telesales staff. Paul Craven, one of the defendants, was usually in the small office along with a girl who handled the admin.
The sales staff cold called potential investors using a three-page script. Hayble gave Mr Creaton his script. Although Mr Creaton got on well with Hayble the relationship with Craven was more difficult. "They were like chalk and cheese. Craven was rash and harsh – always looking for money. No pleasing him. If you weren't on the phones he wanted to know why."
Creaton became unhappy with the job. The whole set up started to ring alarm bells. This was crystalised when Craven said he was going to Bordeaux to pick up wine. "Although I didn't know all the ins and outs I knew you couldn't just go to Bordeaux to pick up wine as everything goes through the négociants. It wasn't quite right and I was concerned. I stopped selling and started to look for an exit."
Creaton was 'let go' in Spring 2007 and went to work for a family run wine investment business based in Edgeware. He worked in the back office sending out cheques covering for someone who was off on maternity leave. He stayed four to five months.
Creaton received a call from Hayble who told him that he was no longer with Craven and that he was setting up International Wine Commodities Ltd in Wheatstone, although they had a Mayfair postal address. Commission was 10% up to £25,000, 15% from £25,000-50,000 and 25% thereafter. Hayble's partner in IWC was Benedict Moruthoane, another defendant. Creaton said that Moruthoane was the "silent partner" in IWC.
At IWC there was a white board on which the wines they had to push were marked up and the sales team would cross off cases as they sold them. At BWTC there had been an unchanging list of the five First Growths. "The wines stayed the same," said Creaton, "although the price would change. There seemed to be a never ending supply. There was never a stop point."
Creaton explained that he didn't use his own name because business cards had aleady been printed with another person's name and that their elderly customers preferred to deal with someone with an Anglo-Saxon name.
Mr Creaton worked at IWC until the company was raided by Hertfordshire Police who closed down the company. Hayble claimed that this was "a bit of a mistake" and that the police had confused BWTC with IWC.
Creaton was due to be cross-examined on Monday but I wasn't at the court.
Monday 18 October 2010
With the harvest now complete, three of the region’s top chateaux have told fine wine merchant Bordeaux Index (www.bordeauxindex.com) they’re expecting this year’s vintage to be remarkable.
“It seems a little premature to mention Bordeaux 2010 when we’ve only just said farewell to the all-consuming jamboree that was Bordeaux 2009,” said Bordeaux Index founder and MD Gary Boom. “But initial reports are that the latest crop is destined to be good, very good indeed.”
Promising early reports from Bordeaux are often greeted with a degree of scepticism within the industry. However, the character and standing of the chateaux involved – Including Angelus, Latour and Le Pin – is adding credibility to the claims.
The final factor in the equation – the weather – has also played its part with warm temperatures in south western France characterising the final stages of the harvest.
“Remembering that 2009 was a truly wonderful vintage, I wouldn’t be that surprised if we have a serious case of vinous twin peaks on our hands,” said Gary Boom.
With the likelihood of another promising pedigree on offer, attention is now focusing on the inevitable question – what price will the 2010 vintage fetch?
Gary Boom is advising a note of caution, “It’s a complicated market at the moment. Normally the arrival of a great vintage is one of the most powerful tools for attracting interest but the reality is that we already have ample supply of ‘prime’ vintages, with plenty of the 00/05/09s sat awaiting consumption. In contrast, it’s the highly sought after ‘off-prime’ vintages of 99/01/04 that are looking increasingly stretched. “
The key factor behind this change in recent years has been increased demand from Asia as brand-based consumption has triumphed over all other factors.
“In short, this market wants the cheapest available vintage of a small set of favoured brands,’ observed Gary Boom. “As we’re on the cusp of another ‘great’ vintage, my advice to investors would be to focus on the 2007/08s with the right labels and be wary of the 2009/05s at the wrong price.”
Friday 15 October 2010
Investors were persuaded by cold calling telesales staff to invest in Bordeaux en primeur mainly 2005 First Growths. Although the victims paid a total of £2.5 million, it is alleged that the companies only ever bought one £10,350 case of wine. No other orders were placed.
Thursday 14 October 2010
|News - Tax|
|Written by Ray Clancy|
|Wednesday, 13 October 2010 10:25|
UK investors in wine are building up huge unexpected tax bills having been misled by salesmen over how HM Revenue and Customs treat wine, it is claimed.
HMRC recently produced guidance warning of increasingly widespread misunderstanding that the value of wine investments for inheritance tax (IHT) purposes is based on the purchase price of wine rather than its current market value.
Read the rest here.
Clearly anyone considering wine investment or who already has wine investments should get professional tax advice and not rely on what some high pressure telesales person tells them. Nor should they rely on claims about wine being a tax-free investment made on some companies' websites.
Although many wines but not all are considered by HM Reveue and Customs to be wasting assets, the concept of wasting assets does not apply for inheritance tax. Inheritance tax values are based on current prices and not the price at which the wine was bought.
Wednesday 13 October 2010
By Ellen Kelleher
Read the rest here.
Friday 24 September 2010
Wednesday 25 August 2010
Saturday 31 July 2010
Tuesday 27 July 2010
This was the first prosecution brought by the SFO in respect to drinks investment fraud and involved 'investments' in barrels of malt whisky. The case involved Lewis Daulby, who pleaded guilty before the start of the trial, Lee Rosser and Julian Blee. Rosser and Blee were found guilty.
House of Delacroix
This was an associated trial (early 2001) to Cavendish/Hamilton as this was a company dealing in Champagne for the Millennium set up by Blee and Rosser with Craig Dean. Blee and Rosser pleaded guilty before the start of the trial. Craig Dean was found guilty.
Marshall was another malt whisky investment company, which also offered Champagne for the Millennium. The trial was held in the first part of 2004. The appropriately named Stephen Jupe was found guilty.
Vintage Wines of St Albans
The company offered wines and spirits as investments to Americans, targeting doctors in particular. Four of the five defendants were found guilty in August 2008 – one was acquitted. Two of the four couldn't be named at the time. Shameen Suleman was found guilty, while Stephanie Callebaut pleaded guilty before the trial started. Haroon Khatab also also found guilty but his name had to be concealed until he was later pleaded guilty to an Asian meals fraud. This food fraud also involved a couple of victims of the Vintage Wines fraud.
Asian food fraud:
Friday 23 July 2010
Thursday 15 July 2010
Senior Portfolio Manager
Encarta Fine Wines Ltd
14-18 Heddon Street
Stapleton illustrated his point with three wines: 2007 Léoville-las-Cases (Encarta price: £1500), 2005 Lynch-Bages (Encarta price: £1400) and 2006 Pichon-Lalande (Encarta price: £895). He claimed an compound annual growth rate of 14% for the Léoville, 13% – Lynch-Bages and 25% for the Pichon.
Remarkable rises and doubtless tempting! However, outside an 'exciting, faced paced broking environment staffed by 'driven, money motivated individuals' the reality is considerably less tempting. wine-searcher.com shows that in mid-June 2010, the 2007 Léoville-las-Cases could be bought for £795 from Robert Rolls (8.6.09), Veblen Wines Ltd had the Lynch-Bages for £775 (10.6.10) and Interest in Wine Ltd had the Pichon at £635.
Furthermore, Encarta's claims of the rise in price of these wines are meaningless and misleading. These percentages show, if they mean anything, only by how much Encarta has whacked up the prices in its short trading history.
In reality wine-searcher shows that the Léoville fell by 10.6% from the lowest price available in June 2009, while the Lynch-Bages was up by 6.5% and the Pichon by 8.7%. Furthermore, prices for these three wines have dropped over the past month with the Léoville (£780: minus 10.7%), Lynch-Bages (£750: 3.3%) and Pichon (£620: 6.5%).
Full advert is here.
However, the Encarta Fine Wines' website explains that its origins were earlier than this:
However, the company would appear to trade from the Bromley as this just ad indicates:
'Encarta fine wines (London/South East) Full Time Tuesday, January 5th, 2010
We currently have full time investment broking vacancies in our team on the trade floor, this is available for driven, money motivated individuals with a passion for sales. Those with experience in stock broking, wine broking or land broking are ideal – although if you have a strong sales background and are sharp on the phone, we want to hear from you! with a basic salary and a strong ongoing commission structure, this is the perfect role for those looking to develop their sales career in an exciting, fast paced broking environment
This is not a job for those afraid of hard work, the job involves speaking to investors across the UK and IRELAND, no matter how wealthy! The hours are long, the job is tough & demanding, BUT the rewards can be tremendous!
Telecommuting is ok.
135 high st
Bromley - BR1 1JF
'Encarta Fine Wines Ltd was registered with companies house in 2009, however has been sole trading since 2006 on very a small scale basis, but must also highlight a mistake* you have which is I am not the sole director, our prices are generally around 25% above the prices shown from some of the larger Merchants for example Farr Vintners, but within this increased price we include storage for up to 5 years**, and of course advice on purchasing.
We can resell to existing clients & potential new clients, portfolios of existing clients thus offering only a 5% selling commission. So I agree we may be more initially to purchase, but also offer investment advice for this service, but are less expensive to sell the portfolio.
* Correct Dean Doughty is also a director
** Five years storage at LCB's Private Reserves is £71.91 inc vat.
From the Encarta website:
'At Encarta we take great pride in helping our clients build the perfect investment portfolio of fine wine.'
Encarta's price for six bottles of 2009 Carruades is £2200 (equivalent to £4400 for a case of 12).A quick look at wine-searcher.com shows that a number of companies are offering a full case (12 bottles) of Carruades at prices ranging from £2400 (Albany Vintners) to £2800 (Farr Vintners are at £2700). In this instance Encarta are a whopping 83% more expensive than the cheapest established fine wine merchant. Encarta: 'the wines that represent good value'!!
I emailed Matthew Hart asking about both the pricing and the choice of Carruades de Lafite as a starter wine for a portfolio.
Matthew Hart's response (15.7.10):
What about the 2007 Lafite Rothschild that we are selling at present for £6000 are you willing to say that this is not competitive??
It seems to me that you have nothing better to do that contact us and keep checking up on our pricing structure!
I suggest you try and track down the scam companies out there that are not actually purchasing wines!!
I am sure one call to LCB and they will confirm that we have a constant stream of wine going into accounts held there.
I will not reply to any further emails that you send to us.'
Your price for 2007 Lafite is certainly more competitive than that quoted for 2009 Carruades. However, it is more expensive than any other companies currently quoted on wine-searcher.
It is also more competitive than than the example of growth sent out by Paul Stapleton on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 featuring 2007 Leoville Las Cases, 2005 Lynch-Bages and 2006 Pichon Lalande. All, particularly the Léoville las Cases and 2005 Lynch Bages well over market price.***
Although I could phone LCB and they might confirm that Encarta have an account with them, they are not going to tell me what is in the account nor what comes in and out, nor whether cases enter at a trickle or a flood. Incidentally when did Encarta open the account at LCB?
Naturally it is entirely up to you whether you respond to my questions. It remains proper that I give you the opportunity to respond.
*** I will be commenting on the example of growth sent out by Paul Stapleton in a separate post. See part 2 here.
Although they may have done a small amount before the company was founded in in July 2009, Encarta Fine Wines Ltd has no track record, particularly in relation to buying en primeur. I wouldn't advise buying en primeur from Encarta until they have established a track and trading record. Nor would I advise buying bottled wine from them until they become more competitive and cease trying to sell investments through cold calls.
Wednesday 14 July 2010
Although I cannot reproduce Tony's article I can mention some of its salient points.
Claremont Forbes intends to offer investors parcels of land that already has planning permission. Each land site would be organised and managed as a Limited Liability Partnership.
‘At Claremont Forbes you will find a highly experienced team who take pride in offering a best-in-class service.’
What property experience do you and your team have?
From Tony Hetherington’s article on Midas Extra:
‘So, what is Claremont Forbes offering? So far, not a lot. The company is run by 28-year-old Terence Farr, who has never headed a limited company before. He told me that it is offering land in Kent, but he added that it was ‘in the process of acquiring one new site as well as finalising a recent property investment club’ – so it appears there is as yet no LLP up and running that the FSA could put under the microscope.’
What land with planning permission in Kent are you offering? Also is Claremont Forbes (Margate Kent) LLP up and running.
‘But unless those investors know what they are doing, and perhaps have some knowledge of planning and development, and land values, it is hard to see the attraction. And with Claremont Forbes itself anticipating a battle with the FSA, it is easier to see the downside and decide to steer clear.’
Tuesday 13 July 2010
See also this earlier post.
Quote above from Fine Wine Vintners website.
Monday 12 July 2010
Four years ago the prices for Bordeaux's last exceptional vintage, 2005, seemed quite extraordinarily audacious and we thought we would never see their like again. In the event, the embryonic, unbottled 2009s have been offered at prices between 50 and 100% up on 2005 opening prices, and some are even approaching 2005 current prices.'
Read the rest here.
Apparently sales to the UK have been 'massive'. How far this is for resale to Asia-Pacific remains to be seen but it is clear that a number of traditional UK buyers of en primeur have not bought this year due to the high prices. I suspect that a substantial amount of sales to the UK have been for investment. It remains to be seen how far it will be possible to sell these stock on, so generating the returns investors expect.
Also story on decanter.com on record UK 2009 en primeur sales and indicating that the Asia pacific did buy 2009s but solely at the top end:
'The story from Farrs is the same. Browett said Far East customers were responsible for more than a third of value sales, but a tiny proportion of volume.
'Sales by value have been 60% UK, 40% Far East, but by volume it's about 85% to 15%, as Far East customers have mainly bought only First Growths and "super-seconds".'
He added, 'There has been virtually no interest from the USA.''
Monday 28 June 2010
'You recently contacted me concerning a Frank Benson who had contacted a victim of the Finbow/Nouveau Fraud stating he was working with SIFMA alongside us, the Fraud Squad in investigating this scam. Today, I had cause to contact another victim in this matter to be told they had the same contact (Benson) and also from a Michael Adams. Adams claimed to the victim that he had managed to arrange a refund of £50k towards her investment loss. When the victim stated they were interested, they were asked to send £55k as some kind of surety to release this money. Fortunately the victim saw it for the scam it was.
Please can you make you readers aware of what is going on here. The Police are not working with any outside agency in relation to this and have not and will not pass details of the victims to anyone. I would hate anyone to become further victims in this matter.'
Saturday 26 June 2010
I emailed Matthew Mansell on 16th asking for the name of Geneva based hedge fund and the name of the Wine Fund. Getting no reply I sent another email on 24th asking the same questions as well as requesting the names of the 'FSA licensed' employees. As yet I have had no response.
I note that there is no mention of the Geneva hedge fund on the Artemis Bellet Ltd site. Nor on a Google search does there appear to be any mention of a Geneva link, I would have thought that Artemis Bellet Ltd would want to strength the credibility of a company set up as recently as the 9th April 2010 by highlighting that they are a subsidiary of a Geneva based hedge fund.
A Google search does suggest that Artemis Bellet Ltd exhibited at the 2010 edition of the London International Wine Trade Fair (18th-20th May). In fact although they booked space they did not take it up as the exhibition's director, James Murray, explains: 'Artemis were scheduled to exhibit with us and appeared in the exhibitor listing in our preview, Grapevine. They reserved a stand quite late on and then had a change of heart a few days later.'
Did Artemis Bellet Ltd decide understandably that the London International Wine Trade Fair wasn't the forum for a wine investment company or was it a usual ploy to gain credibility by appearing in the on-line list of exhibitors?
Until Artemis Bellet Ltd provide evidence that they are part of a Geneva hedge fund and have 'FSA licensed employees I have to assume that these claims are fanciful.
Thursday 24 June 2010
June 23, 2010
Saturday 12 June 2010
Friday 11 June 2010
Have you heard of this company? Artemis Bellet?
Despite the company's recent formation its website claims that 'a leading London based wine investment house focused on advising private and institutional clients across a broad range of diversified products'. Also their expertise is 'widely accepted' within the industry.
Further extracts from their website:
'Who we are
What we do
It is widely accepted we provide and source the best opportunities on investment grade fine wines within the industry. We present our clients with the most attractive and sought after tools to form a tailor-made and well diversified tangible investment.
Investments within fine wines' are not a new concept. Experts and enthusiasts have been reaping the rewards for hundreds of years and over the last quarter of a century fine wines have proved to be one of the most consistently stable, high yielding and low risk investments in the world.
Do I need to be an expert?
Absolutely not. Our experience and expertise is in identifying and sourcing wines which, in our opinion, have strong investment potential.
How quickly can I sell?
You can sell whenever you like, as the best wines of Bordeaux enjoy a ready secondary market. Whilst there are often impressive short term gains (our wines have increased by as much as 85% in the last 12 months alone).
Artemis Bellet recommends our clients to store the wines with a private trust account in a bonded warehouse, in this manner the wine belongs to you at all times and can only be removed from the bond with the combined signatures of that of the client / beneficiary in the event of death and Artemis Bellet.*
Some 10,000 private collectors, investors and wine merchants from 39 countries choose to store their collections at the bonded warehouse.
Provenance is becoming increasingly important when you come to sell any of your wines. Private investors, auction houses and wine merchants will ask where and how the wine has been stored before agreeing to handle the sale. Artemis Bellet has built a treasured service of recommending and utilising their resources ensuring that the wines are in perfect condition for the future.
Stored securely at the bonded warehouse, 100 feet below the ground your wine is finer, safer and more valuable as a result.'
I would not consider buying from Artemis Bellet Ltd until they had established a track record or shown evidence of an existing one.
Update: 4th August 2012: Artemis Bellet Ltd was dissolved through a voluntary strike off on 26th July 2011.